Evangelical Support for Trump Slips Slightly, but Stays High

President Donald Trump holds a Bible outside St. John’s Church in Washington on June 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

(CN) — President Donald Trump’s job approval rating among white evangelical Protestants has slipped in the last two months, according to a poll released Wednesday, but they still approve of the president by overwhelming percentages and most plan to vote for him in November.

Roughly seven in 10 white evangelical Protestants (72%) said they approve of Trump’s job performance in a Pew Research Center poll conducted June 16-22, which is down 6 percentage points from an April poll. The percentage of white evangelical respondents who say they “very strongly” approve of the president’s performance slipped 8 points, from 67% in April to 59% in the new poll.

The survey was conducted after Trump’s June 1 appearance outside St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington, across the street from the White House, where he held up a Bible for news photographers after protesters in the area were tear-gassed. It also comes after Trump-appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the U.S. Supreme Court’s majority opinion on June 15 holding that the Civil Rights Act protects gays and lesbians.

Despite the slight drop in the president’s approval rating among white evangelicals, 8 in 10 of those surveyed in that group said they would vote for Trump if the election were held today or are leaning toward voting for him.

Trump’s approval rating among Christians overall has dropped slightly as well. About half of Christians (49%) said they approve of Trump’s performance, down 6 points from April. Trump’s approval rating among all U.S. adults dropped to 39% in June from 44% in April.

The president’s lowest approval rating is among black Protestants, 83% of whom said in Pew’s June survey they disapprove of the job the president is doing in office, followed by Hispanic Catholics (74%) and those who are unaffiliated with a particular religious group (74%).

“While no other religious group is as supportive of Trump as white evangelical Protestants — and his rating has slipped among most Christian groups in this analysis in recent months — the president continues to garner support from half or more of other white Christians,” the Pew Research Center said in releasing the numbers Wednesday.

While most white Protestants and white Catholics say they intend to vote for Trump in November, that is not the case for black Protestants, 88% of whom said they would vote for presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

“Trump’s continued support among white evangelical Protestants — a group that is highly religious and overwhelmingly Republican — is matched by their dislike of Biden,” Pew researchers said. “A large majority of white evangelical Protestants say Biden would make a ‘poor’ (26%) or even ‘terrible’ (49%) president, while 16% say he would make an ‘average’ president. Only 9% of white evangelicals say Biden would be ‘great’ (2%) or ‘good’ (7%) in the Oval Office, compared with seven-in-ten who say Trump has been good (34%) or great (35%) in that role.”

The survey is based on responses from 4,708 U.S. adults, all of whom are members of Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel, which is recruited through national, random sample of residential addresses. The poll is weighted to reflect the U.S. adult population by gender, race, ethnicity, partisan affiliation, education and other demographics.

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